For those of us born in to a narcissistic christian household, it can particularly difficult to recover from narcissistic parental abuse. Interweaving of narcissistic cooping and religious teachings make it difficult to know what is real and what is imagination. This is how you deal with a narcissistic christian parent.
Overcoming narcissistic christian parenting starts with forgiving your parents, and separating yourself from their influence. You will need time and help to sort out your mental and religious reality through introspection and suitable coaching or counseling.
Be careful what you read online about christian narcissist parenting, because many articles are written by victims who have not fully recovered. What follows is a grounded and spiritual way to overcome narcissistic christian abuse.
How Christian Narcissists are Different than Other Narcissistic Parents
The first thing to realize about your narcissistic parents is that much of their behavior comes from psychological trauma of their own. While I believe that everyone is ultimately responsible for their own behavior, it can help us forgive when we know that our parents are are probably victims of similar behavior.
While the origins of narcissism are not entirely understood, many psychologist believe that many narcissists experienced one of several forms of childhood trauma. For more information on where narcissism comes from, and what makes someone develop narcissism, read my previous article —
Narcissistic Christian Parents Exhibit Behaviors of General Narcissism
Christian narcissistic parents will exhibit all the behaviors of any other narcissistic parents, including —
- Switching unexpectedly between hot and cold behavior
- Shunning or giving the cold shoulder
- Blowing over seemingly nothing at all
- Accusations and guilt trips
- Public shaming
While I won’t go in to detail about general forms of narcissistic parenting here, you should also read my other more general articles on narcissistic parenting in addition to the specifics about christian narcissists in the rest of the article —
- How to Deal with a Narcissistic Parent | Healing When There Is No love ### Religious Teaching is Leveraged as a Tool of Oppression by Narcissistic Christian Parents
One of the big differences between a non-religious narcissistic parent and a christian Narcissist is that they can use the Bible and religious teaching as a means of amplifying the same and guilt trips they use to control their children.
While a functioning christian education should morals, ethics, and a personal relationship with God, narcissistic christian parents will emphasize your unworthiness, failings, verses which glorify them.
‘Honour thy father and thy mother as the LORD hath commanded thee; that thy days may be prolonged, and that it may go well with thee, in the land which the LORD thy God giveth thee.’
Deuteronomy 5:16 (KJV)
If you are a child of a narcissistic christian parent, you are likely to —
- Learn not to trust others
- Feel used and manipulated
- Are taught there for the parent instead of the other way around
- Have stunted emotional development
- Feel criticized and judged
Dealing with Christian Indoctrination Due To Narcissistic Parenting
One of the most difficult things to overcome when you have a narcissistic parent in a christian household is the religious indoctrination.
No matter if you are a believer on not, victims of christian narcissists must take steps to correct false religious teaching.
True and authentic christian ideology is never taught with the aim of manipulation and control. However, your narcissistic christian parent’s psychology doesn’t allow them the clarity of mind to teach their children without an agenda. Whether they meant to or not, christian teaching from narcissistic parents cannot help but be partially untrue or warped.
Generally, this false beliefs come in one of three kinds —
- False religious beliefs that your parents held, and you learned sub-consciously
- False religious beliefs that your parents invented for the purpose of manipulation
- False religious beliefs that you learned as a consequence of your parent’s narcissistic behavior
Whether you intend to continue to follow the religion of your parents or not, it is vitally important that you take the time to dig out and reform false beliefs that you have.
Children of christian narcissists are often haunted by subconscious limiting beliefs that continue to dominate them as an adult.
Narcissistic Christian Parents Leverage Church Dynamics Against Their Children
Another important consideration for children of christian narcissists is the role of church, congregation, and family in their narcissistic manipulation.
It is very common for all types of narcissist to attempt to spread false facts about their victims in order to convince other people, unwittingly or not, to support their narrative and thus further their oppression. In a christian household, you may find that they —
- Shame you in front of the group
- Cultivate your image as a sinner among the congregation
- Use triangulation (recruiting others to echo their messages of shame and control)
- Disguise put downs in the form of prayer or group healing
Group based manipulation can be doubly damaging in christian homes, because religious groups are likely to shun you if you don’t agree.
For many children who grew up christian, there is a real fear that taking any steps to prevent abuse is likely to lead to them being cut out of their church entirely. Narcissists are incredibly adept and puppeting other’s perceptions, and may be able to turn the entire congregation against you thought artful deceit and the rumor mill. Getting kicked out of the group can be a traumatic event.
The best weapon you have against narcissistic lies is the truth.
In the end, you cannot accept narcissistic abuse from parents, and you have a duty to take steps to put a check on that behavior. In the best case, admitting to the truth about what is happening to you would be supported by your brothers and sisters in the congregation. However, if they side with your parent, such a church is not a tool of the divine, but rather an instrument of oppression, and you should move on to another church or belief voluntarily.
Ill feelings against those who wronged you do nothing to right the situation, and for those who are still faithful, christian teachings of forgiveness are a potent antidote to harboring hatred.
‘Honoring Your Parents’ When They are Christian Narcissists
How can you follow the Bible and honor your parents even if they are christian narcissists?
Love is a more powerful healing force than criticism or blame. While we may be justified in enumerating our parent’s failings, that doesn’t do anything to help and is actually a vice of our own.
In my opinion, the christian teaching of honoring one’s parent truly about taking the perspective of gratitude in regards to your parent’s impact on your life. No matter how horrid they were, your parent’s helped you survive during the times of your life when you were weakest and most vulnerable.
By honoring our parents, we take back our power to control our perception of a relationship and honor ourselves.
What makes love and gratitude so strong, is that the recipient does nothing to deserve it. There are no strings attached nor veiled criticism or critiques. By learning to love, we are building up to the strength to separate our own thoughts and emotions from the tyranny of the group.
What does the Bible say about dealing with narcissists?
The christian Bible teaches humility, turning the other cheek, and forgiveness when dealing with narcissists and those who wrong us. “Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Can a narcissist love God?
Narcissist can love God just like anyone else, because none of us are perfect. Mankind is prone to sin, and while narcissists may commit sin more than others, love of God is available to them as well, since it originates by the Grace of God rather than from our own minds.